Review: Following on from last year's God Is Change cassette on Opal Tapes, Butler delivers a dance floor EP of sorts for the Black sub-label. "The Chill" is a droning techno track with a difference; underpinned by chattering percussion and mysterious chimes, it also features the sound of iron bars dropping on a concrete floor, looped to infinity. The melancholic synth riffs that soars through the arrangement has some resemblance of Detroit techno, but it is rooted in too much fuzzy abstraction to sound like a retro copy. The mood changes on "Unrepentant"; there, Butler seeks to relive Chicago's glory days, albeit channelled through a degraded Nation filter. Who knows what he'll get up to next?
Review: The Opal Tapes off-shoot Black Opal has certainly delivered the goods thus far, having put out EP's by Cloudface, Xosar and J.Albert, among others. Life's Track, the Italian duo made up of Dukwa and the always on-point Herva, appear on one of three inaugural releases to introduce the Black Opal White Label. These are five rugged, gritty and ready-to-use floor tracks for the more versatile of DJs, and here are our top three: "Harmonizer" for its tripping, speedy bombardment of steely percussion, "The Drumjazz Leader" because it reminds us of late '90s Metalheadz gone utterly wrong, and "Consequence" for its nutty, distorted feel. Hotly tipped!!
Review: Synthesizer and drum machine obsessive Xosar (AKA producer Sheela Rahman) has enjoyed a productive few years, building a formidable reputation via releases on Rush Hour, L.I.E.S and Creme Organization. Here she delivers her first full-length for Opal Tapes' occasional vinyl offshoot, Black Opal. It's perhaps a little less colourful and synthesizer-heavy than previous excursions, instead focusing on dark, fuzzy, heavily percussive takes on acid house and techno. Of course, there are curious interludes - see the wonky industrial IDM of "Prophylaxis" and the beatless synth madness of "Gnome Circle" - but it's the more floor-friendly excursions (and most profoundly the bleak and intense "Hades Gates") that really stand out.